ABC board member speaks about lawsuit claim

Reported by Tim Pulliam - bio|email
Posted by Claire Hosmann - email

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - An ABC Board Member is surprised to hear about a possible lawsuit that may be filed against New Hanover County Commissioners.

On Thursday, New Hanover County Commissioner Jason Thompson said that attorneys for the ABC Commission threatened to file a lawsuit if the county takes certain actions.

Steve Culbreth, a member of the ABC board, does not agree with Thompson's claims.

"I certainly haven't been at any meeting, public or private where we discussed suing anybody for anything," said Culbreth.

This argument comes from the growing criticism over the salary of the ABC Board's top administrator, Billy Williams.

Earlier this year, the ABC Board voted to give Williams an 8 percent raise, bringing his salary to more than $230,000 a year.

Culbreth later said that William's salary is better than any salary at the ABC commission, but may not be necessary in the down economy.

Earlier this month, in an effort to prove why Williams earned his salary, Culbreth showed commissioners that all 8 stores in the county brought in a total of $30 million. That makes it the second highest profit in the state below Wake County.

County commissioners now want Culbreth and other board members to go before the public to explain the salaries next month.

Culbreth doesn't like that idea.

"That's not the meeting I was understanding," said Culbreth. "I was understanding they wanted a free exchange of information. Our ABC meetings are open to the public."

There will be a public meeting to further discuss this matter on Monday, January 4th.

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